[Editor’s note: David Zilberman is a professor of agriculture and resource economics at UC-Berkeley.][A] few weeks ago, I received a letter informing me that Mr. Russell Carollo – who I discovered is a Pulitzer-winning author — wants access to all the records of private funding of my university research and all my communication related to GMOs and related topics. … [H]e might have suspected that I [am] a paid agent of Monsanto.
Googling my name he could have easily discovered Were you paid by Monsanto? • The Berkeley Blog, where I state that I received $10,000 for reviewing some papers for Monsanto (out of millions of dollars of support grants for my research over the years from many sources). He would have known that I have made many contributions to support environmental causes. He could even have called or emailed me … and he would have better knowledge about his “suspect.” If after this initial and more personal investigation he would have asked me to provide him with information, I would have been happy to oblige according to the FOIA.
I am left with a feeling of disappointment in our culture of confrontation and lack of collegiality. … In a way, FOIA is like GMOs, a very valuable tool, which has to be applied with care.
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